The Sunshine State is one of the most southern-lying states in the United States. Encompassing nearly 70,000 square miles, Florida isn’t just big, it’s also heavily populated. In fact, it’s the third most populous state in the country, with over 21 million people swelling its ranks. When you think of Florida, you probably don’t think about cold weather. But, there’s the coldest place in Florida, just like there’s the warmest place. It might not get quite as cold in this southern state as it does farther north, but, just how cold can it get?
Read on to discover where the coldest temperatures were ever recorded in Florida. We’ll also find out which city has the coldest average temperatures. Then, we’ll go over whether or not it ever snows in the Sunshine State. After that, we’ll find out more about the coldest spot, and what there is to do there.
The Coldest Place in Florida
If you’re measuring by coldest annual average temperature, then Niceville, at just 66 degrees Fahrenheit, is the coldest place in Florida. But, if you’re measuring by average annual maximum temperature, then Pensacola, at 70 degrees Fahrenheit (F), is actually the coldest place in the state. Florida is well known for its hot, steamy weather, so you wouldn’t necessarily expect winter weather there. In fact, most of Florida’s climate is classified as humid subtropical. The southern tip of the state—including the Florida Keys—is even warmer, and more tropical.
Florida’s average temperature is a perfect 75 degrees F; the state experiences distinct wet, monsoon seasons interspersed with dry seasons. January ranks as the coldest month of the year, with a statewide average temperature of just 54 degrees F. Further, Pensacola isn’t just one of the coldest places in the state, it’s also ranked as the wettest. Pensacola alone gets an average of 81 inches of rainfall every year.
The Coldest Temperature Ever Recorded in Florida
Florida’s coldest-ever recorded temperature occurred during the Great Arctic Outbreak of 1899. That’s right: not even Florida is immune to cold fronts of air pushing down from the north, causing low temperatures and even snow. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Florida was -2 degrees F, recorded on February 13 of 1899. Since then, there have been a handful of cold snaps in the Sunshine State. The most recent occurred in December of 2010 and resulted in extremely cold temperatures and snow.
Niceville: A History
The two top contenders for coldest place in Florida, Niceville and Pensacola, lie just a stone’s throw from one another. Niceville was first established in 1868. Though, at that point, it was known by the rather less nice name of Boggy. The town kept this illustrious name until 1910 when it got its new name of Niceville. Niceville sits in the far northwestern part of Florida, protected from the Gulf of Mexico by a spit of land. The town itself sits on the Rocky Bayou of Choctawhatchee Bay.
But, no telling of Niceville’s history is complete without mention of the old mill. In 1857, a man named William Nathey settled in what is today Niceville. He built his own gristmill, the millstones of which still survive. Then, in 1862, several more families moved into the area as part of the Homestead Act. From there, the town of Niceville was born.
Wildlife of Niceville
The coldest place in Florida sits on Choctawhatchee Bay; visitors may see a wide variety of both terrestrial and aquatic creatures. Turtles and birds are common, as are raccoons, squirrels, and other urban critters. Even more exciting, Choctawhatchee Bay is home to several species of shark, all feeding on the wide variety of fish found in the Bay. If they’re lucky, visitors might catch a glimpse of blacktip reef sharks, bonnethead sharks, bull sharks, and even tiger sharks.
Things to Do in Niceville
Once home to the Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival (nothing to do with the hairstyle), Niceville has plenty of activities. The coldest place in Florida has a wide variety of both outdoor and urban things to do. If you want to be among nature, then check out the Fred Gannon Rocky Bayou State Park, and the Turkey Creek Nature Trail. There’s even the local Lions Park, which offers beautiful views of the Bay.
Nature walking not your thing? Not to worry! Niceville has several dining, drinking, and staying options that uphold the “Nice” in Niceville. Be sure to check out a show at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center Theater, or do a little golfing at one of the town’s multiple golf courses. And, if you brought your furry friend along, there’s even a local dog park.
More from A-Z Animals
The Featured Image
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.
- City of Niceville, Available here: https://cityofniceville.org/
- Florida Annual Temperatures and Records, Available here: http://coolweather.net/statetemperature/florida_temperature.htm
- Crown Science, Available here: https://www.crownscience.org/places/florida-us
- Florida State University, Available here: https://climatecenter.fsu.edu/topics/winters